Natural Solutions for Depression & Anxiety

Friday, 7 December 2018  |  Editor

Minimising Depression & Anxiety 

More and more people are looking for natural treatments to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression and ways in which they can help themselves and take some control of the situation they find themselves in. The UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence now advises doctors to think carefully before prescribing antidepressants and explore other therapeutic interventions.

WHAT IS DEPRESSION & WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH IT ? 

Depression is a low mood that lasts a long time and affects your day to day life. In its mildest form depression can be just low spirits with everything seeming a huge effort and not worthwhile but at its worst people can lose the will to live and may experience suicidal thoughts. Symptoms vary tremendously but can include feeling anxious, not enjoying life, lacking motivation, feeling tearful, having low self esteem, inability to make decisions, feeling hopeless and helpless and feeling irritable and intolerant of others. Physical symptoms might be a low sex drive, lack of energy, unexplained aches and pains, slow speech, loss or gain in weight and disturbed sleep pattern. Socially sufferers can find they are not doing well at work, avoiding contact with friends and family and neglecting hobbies and interests often leading to marriage/relationship problems.

WHAT IS ANXIETY  & WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH IT ? 

Anxiety is a feeling of unease,  worry or fear that can vary from mild to severe. It is quite normal to feel anxious about a job interview, taking an exam or having an operation but some people find it more difficult to control their worries and these feelings are more constant and overwhelming seriously affecting their day to day life. This may include withdrawing from social interactions and finding it difficult to go to work on occasions. People describe feeling a sense of dread, constantly “on edge”, difficulty concentrating and irritability. Physical symptoms are many and can include excessive sweating, palpitations, dizziness, feeling sick, trembling or shaking, dry mouth, restlessness or even shortness of breath.

WHAT NATURAL PRODUCTS CAN I TAKE TO HELP WITH MY ANXIETY & DEPRESSION ?

We would advise you to check with your doctor or other health care professional before using any products.

  • St John’s Wort is thought to work on brain transmitters and brain chemicals influencing mood.  We advise that you discuss this option with your doctor before starting as it can interact with other medications and may not be a good option for you.
  • Rhodiola is known as the stress busting herb
  • Ginkgo – a traditional Chinese medicine for the brain thought to improve concentration, memory and depression.
  • Lavender – use of the essential oil to aid sleep and relaxation
  • Valerian – a traditional sedative used for stress and insomnia
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • 5-HTP and Tryptophan – used by the body to make serotonin
  • Passionflower (Passiflora) – a climbing shrub with beautiful white and mauve flowers has been long valued by herbalists for its calming and sedative properties. One of our staff has used this on a regular basis for anxiety attacks and finds it very helpful.

WILL WALKING & REGULAR EXERCISE HELP WITH ANXIETY & DEPRESSION ?

Exercise is the best drug in the world ! Take a regular walk in nice surroundings or try regular cycling or swimming. Physical exercise means your body will produce more of the powerful chemicals that help you to feel more motivated.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF WITH DEPRESSION & ANXIETY ?

Many people with Depression or Anxiety  benefit by making lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise, cutting down on alcohol, giving up smoking and eating healthily. Other options include joining a self help group, using on line support, talking to friends and family, keeping a mood diary to try and identify possible triggers, phoning a helpline, setting realistic goals and looking for new interests and hobbies.  A significant number of sufferers have found becoming a volunteer for an organisation has helped tremendously by giving a new interest and increasing self worth. In recent years many people have found cognitive behaviour therapy helpful in changing the way you think and mindfulness which is about paying more attention to the present moment rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Other suggestions include going out in the sunshine, taking a hot bath, practising yoga , listening to music and doing breathing exercises. You just need to find what works best for you !

ARE THERE ANY FOODS THAT I CAN EAT OR AVOID TO IMPROVE MY MOODS ?

Nutrition can feed the relaxation response. In the short term we can deal with the effects of stress but long term it can prevent our bodies producing all the beneficial chemicals like endorphins and serotonin which are vital for a healthy, relaxed emotional life and physical well being.  Make sure you have a healthy, balanced diet including oily fish, chicken or turkey, nuts, vegetables, pulses and fruit. Many people find a few squares of good dark chocolate give them a boost by encouraging the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin. It is also important to keep well hydrated by drinking 1-2 litres water daily but avoiding or cutting down on caffeine based drinks and alcohol.

We were alarmed to read recently in the national press that more than one third of the UK workforce are experiencing some form of anxiety, depression or stress so it is clearly becoming a huge problem that needs to be tackled in the best way possible. Do let us know what worked for you.